Structural Engineers are experts in the construction field. They ensure that buildings will stand the test of time. For example, construction workers install footings before pouring the foundation. Footings are what have to contact with the ground and ultimately support the building. Similarly, educators build classroom communities. From my experience, four main footings need to be integrated for any classroom to run smoothly and efficiently. These should be the pillars of an excellent education that can help any classroom teacher be successful.
When students know their classroom routine, they feel safe. Safety is a crucial factor when evaluating quality schools. Students must be explicitly taught by lining up at the door to turn in papers. In many schools, these have been referred to as a “teach to” and need to be taught to the students. Discussing them during classroom “meeting” time (morning meetings or end-of-day briefings) is a great way to reinforce these routines.
Working well with others is a lifelong skill that all students need. Whether collaborating on projects (in person or digitally) or learning to listen to each other, it builds student relationships and encourages friendships within your classroom. Teachers also need to build relationships with parents and caregivers as well. Regular communication, in various forms, will ensure that messages are being received. Ideas include weekly “take-home” folders, email correspondence, phone calls, newsletters, and handwritten notes, which promote communication.
Involves more than rules and consequences. Implementing a school-wide discipline program, including referrals, should be part of the overall behavioral program. Classroom management is when teachers incorporate classroom and school expectations for anything from noise levels to ways to ask for help or move in the classroom and within the school, and should also have a reward system. When all of these are in place, it is an integral part of instruction, engagement, and consequences and helps to build relationships.
By using data, educators can their target instruction. However, there are frameworks for excellent instruction, which include bell ringers, exit tickets, and engagement strategies. Engagement is different from entertaining students. Knowing that a student is engaged allows them opportunities to express their learning. There are many strategies that teachers can use, including choral response or think-pair-share, which all encourage on-task learning. High-quality materials and resources are vital to meeting those district and school instructional needs.
Why is this important?
A classroom community isn’t built overnight, and it takes months to have all students feel secure in their environment. Many programs and resources help develop many aspects of teaching. While the teacher is the single most crucial role in the classroom, having stakeholders acknowledge the value of building a community is reassuring to the educators in the profession.
With a positive classroom community, teachers can increase instruction time, build relationships and meet the demands of teaching. Never underestimate the power of creating a classroom community. Teachers will need to develop this vital component during the first few weeks of school. This time is not wasted and will ensure future learning.
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